Friday, November 10, 2006

Letting go and trusting the words

I just finished knitting the Mobius Bag from Knit It! Fall 2006. I don't have the pictures to upload yet, as I need to sew down the I-cord embellishment and felt it but I did feel the need to blog about the knitting process on this particular project.

As a highly visual person, I tend to translate words into pictures. It's just the way my brain works. I've been learning much more about that recently because I've been reading a couple books on spacial/visual thinkers because DD#3 is showing strong indications of being an even more extreme type of visual thinker and they require special teaching techniques. It's been illuminating to learn about myself while trying to learn about my daughter's particular learning style.

I can remember back when I finally learned, however, to stop trying to visualize knitting instructions and just "do it". For years I had struggled because I tried to "see" the pattern before attempting to knit it. I had attempted socks but always got stymied by the heels because the instructions for short-rows didn't make sense to me. I couldn't "see" the end result, so everything would get all snarled up.

I finally gave up trying to figure out socks on my own and signed up for a class. At the last minute, though, the class was cancelled, due to lack of interest. Frustrated, I headed off to my LYS for knit night instead. I sat and fumed and pondered the issue. On my way out after musing over my own incompetence for several hours, I saw a sock kit with beautiful, Cherry Tree Hill yarn. I decided then and there that I was going to conquer socks or die trying. There was no way I was going to bypass all that fibery goodness because I was a knitting dunce.

I started the socks and got to my usual hang-up spot in the pattern - I read and re-read the instructions. I counted and re-counted stitches. The math didn't make sense and the pictures in my head would not cooperate. Then I closed my eyes and just released the pictures. I told myself to just read the words, let my hands follow the instructions and trust that the pattern writers knew what they were doing and it would all just work out without my having a strong vision of the process in my head first. Eureka! As the knitting progressed, then the pictures began to unfold in my head. It made sense but only after I let go and trusted the words first.

Now this may sound incredibly simple to some. Perhaps you've always followed the words without a picture in your mind and my mental quirks don't make sense. Or maybe you're even more visual and have no problems seeing the pictures, regardless of how convoluted the words make it seem. But it was the absolute epiphany of my knitting career.

Now, this long story was the prologue to my Mobius Bag story. It was a "let go and trust the words" kind of project. The picture of the bag didn't jive with what the instructions seemed to be saying, so my mental pictures were wrestling with the words initially. But I remembered my mantra and just followed the instructions and everything worked out just fine. It is actually quite a clever little bag and I can't wait to see how it felts up.

In reality, this process is a great analogy for faith in God. Sometimes when things don't make sense to us "logically," we just have to trust the Word. After all, "faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). When life is taking us for a ride and we try everything we can to control things that really are beyond our control, there comes a time when we need to let go and just take it on faith that "all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

Right now, because of things beyond my control, I am battling depression. It's all chemical, due to migraines and the weather. My life isn't horrible, so there isn't anything situational that I can place any blame on (besides a little stress and who doesn't experience stress). So even when things seem dark and hopeless, I am just letting go and trusting the Word when it says, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." (Ephesians 4:4-9)


Sheepish Annie said...

For me it tends to be just the oppostite. I tend to put so much faith in the "words" and live only for the row number upon which I am knitting that I lose sight of that which might be ahead. It does not occur to me that the author of the pattern is human and might have a flaw or two of their own...they have to know more than I, right?

I'm getting a bit better about thinking "big picture" and remembering that I have a skill or two under my belt. But I still revert back to the old ways more often than I'd like!

Learning style is everything in knitting, I'm starting to realize...

Guinifer said...

I am wish annie on style. I also forget to read ahead and sometimes find myself having the "doh!" moment in the middle of a pattern.